Sunday, September 03, 2006

3 - September 2006

This morning we walked along the Tamar River waterfront and found a nice cafe for breakfast. Today is Father's Day in Australia, and I assure you Mike milked it (and felt a little sorry for himself, understandably, because he wasn't with his favorite kiddos!). He did get to talk to Sawyer and Uncle Brook; Auntie Kimbo and Sadie had crashed after a fun day at the Bay Area Discovery Museum.

After checking out of our hotel, we visited the beautiful Cataract Gorge, where we shared a chairlift and then toured the peaceful grounds by foot.

We then stopped into the City Centre of Launceston for a little window shopping (rather tacky goods, shucks) and had lunch at a pub (did we mention that Australians add fried eggs to their hamburgers and sandwiches? We've seen it on many menus and many patrons' plates. Again, why aren't these people fatter?!). Sadly, it was time to catch our flight to Sydney. We hated to leave Tasmania (and vowed to come back one day, but next time with the kids!), though the Launceston Airport was perfect for our departure--we got to savor our last views of Tassie's mountains and countless fields of sheep the whole way up!

We shared the flight with an older gentleman from New Zealand who proved what we've heard about the rivalry between Kiwis and Aussies. He had been on holiday in Tasmania for two weeks, and he was none too impressed--said the trip was long enough to know he need never go back. He told us that New Zealand is very much like Tassie, "only green, lush, and beautiful instead of all that dry land and those gum trees!" He also warned us that, "Australians are hard and brash, where New Zealanders are soft and mellow. An Australian will tell you you're an idiot; A New Zealander will say 'that's not at all nice!'"

We're splashing out in Sydney and staying at the Observatory Hotel. The room is incredibly elegant, spacious, and comfortable with down furniture, pillows, and blankets; fluffy bath sheets kept cozy on a warming rack; and a marble bathroom bigger than most bedrooms. We could get used to this. (The bellman, I might add, was mighty impressed by how lightly we managed to pack for a 5-week trip--one carry-on-sized rolling case each plus one backpack and two handbags--but he doesn't know that we'll need to buy another suitcase if we want to bring home so much as a newspaper!) And check out these giant strawberries that awaited us in the room!

Have I mentioned that the baby has been kicking since we left Los Angeles? Mike was even able to feel it with his hand on my belly a couple of days ago. My morning sickness hasn't exactly eased up, but it's at its worse on car and plane rides, neither of which we'll be doing in the next couple of days.

More on how to speak Australian:
--"bottle" (as in beer) = "stubbie"
--"you're welcome" (in reply to "thank you") = "that's okay" (said quite drab--it makes you feel as if you've really put them out somehow!)
--"swimsuit" = "swimming costume"

And quite possibly the most overused word by Australians:


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